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Bhima-Koregaon raids: MHA puts 'Urban Naxalism' under scanner, flags spread of Maoist agenda from jungles to cities

Bhima-Koregaon raids: MHA puts 'Urban Naxalism' under scanner, flags spread of Maoist agenda from jungles to cities

New Delhi: The Maharashtra Police conducted a coordinated crackdown against left-wing activists on Tuesday, bringing the focus back to 'Urban Naxalism', as coined by the government. After repeated setbacks in the hinterland, it is feared that Maoists are trying to gain a foothold in the urban centres via overground sympathisers and front men. The police sweep has triggered massive outrage with politicians, activists and authors terming it as an attack on democratic rights and some even likened the detention and raids to the declaration of Emergency.

The raids were carried out in connection with the probe into the Bhima Koregaon violence in Maharashtra on 31 December last year. It is as yet unknown whether the Maharashtra Police has clinching evidence against those arrested, however, sources said the investigation had picked up pace following the arrest of five activists in June this year. Highly-placed sources said just days before the Bhima Koregaon violence, the issue of 'Urban Naxals' was discussed within the security establishment. An intelligence report titled Urban Naxalism: Growing Menace and Remedies was also deliberated with senior security officials of the states.

Firstpost has reviewed the Ministry of Home Affairs' note that suggests that the strategy to tackle Left-Wing Extremist (LWE) challenges must include a plan to tackle 'Urban Naxalism'. The note also proposes a separate budget to counter the growing Naxal footprint in cities. "The Ministry of Home Affairs plan must include a section on Urban Naxalism and security-related expenditures should have a component dedicated to building capacity in urban areas on this count," the note says.

The home ministry believe that many front organisations are created by Maoists to facilitate mass-mobilisation in semi-urban and urban areas through ostensibly democratic means and most of these organisations are led by well-educated intellectuals with a firm belief in the Maoist insurgency doctrine. "These ideologues function as masks to cover the violent nature of the CPI (Maoist) ideology. They also form propaganda/disinformation machinery of the party. The front organisations also skilfully use state structures and legal processes to further the Maoist agenda and weaken the enforcement regime. The important functions of these organisations include the recruitment of 'professional revolutionaries', raising funds for the insurgency, creating urban shelters for underground cadres, providing legal assistance to arrested cadres and mass-mobilisation by agitating over issues of relevance/convenience. The front organisations aim to provide short-term democratic subterfuge to cover up the totalitarian and oppressive nature of the Maoist ideology," the note adds.

After the arrest of activists Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson and human rights lawyer Surendra Gadling in June, an intelligence report suggested that the activities of CPI (Maoist) in urban areas is being undertaken through 'mass organisations' or fronts of the outfit that works under the garb of human and civil rights organisations. "The sinister design of the terrorist outfit to subvert the minds of its targeted classes is achieved through propaganda by these organisations and Maoist ideologues in universities and colleges. The design has been highlighted in the 'Urban Perspective Plan' of the CPI (Maoist) which was adopted sometime in 2007 after the organisation had held its ninth Congress in the jungles of Jamui in Bihar. This document gives a call to all the members of CPI (Maoist) working in urban areas to mobilise masses against what it classifies as fascist repression by the ruling class. Interestingly, the organisation underlines that the primary aim of working in urban areas is to organise the targeted masses, build a 'Tactical United Front' with like-minded organisations over common issues and take up activities such as maintaining supply lines of logistics and recruitment of educated youths to support the armed struggle in the jungles," the intelligence report says.

In June, arrests were made from Delhi, Mumbai and Nagpur. The intelligence note reveals that front organisations supporting 'Urban Naxalism' are active in a number of cities across the country, including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Ranchi, Hyderabad, Visakhapatanam, Madurai, Thiruvananthpuram, Nagpur and Pune. It further adds that these organisations work on different fronts such as agrarian, students, legal, labour, cultural and civil liberities.

"The central committee of CPI (Maoist), the highest decision making body, has instructed the front organisations to intensify their activities and mobilise people over issues related to Dalits and minorities.There have been a number of instances where the urban fronts of CPI (Maoist) had managed to leverage issues already agitating particular sections and steered the protesters towards Maoist agenda," the intelligence note continues.

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